A professional DJ from Leeds was intercepted by armed police as he drove back to West Yorkshire with almost 40 kilograms of heroin in the boot of a car.
The massive haul of Class A drugs was found in two large holdalls when the Volvo being driven by 49-year-old Scott Thompson was stopped on Manchester Road in Bradford last November.
Prosecutor Matthew Donkin told a judge at Bradford Crown Court today that the heroin had a wholesale value of about £1.2 million, but its minimum potential street value would have been in excess of £2.1 million.
Mr Donkin said co-accused Mazhar Abbas, 44, had provided father-of-three Thompson with the Volvo for the trip to Stafford in the West Midlands where he met up with a man in the car park of a DIY store and the holdalls were put in the boot of the vehicle.
Mr Donkin said the men had also been using so-called "dirty phones" as means of trying to avoid detection.
Both Thompson, of Meagill Rise, Otley, and Abbas, of Lister View, Bradford, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to supply heroin and today/yesterday they were given jail terms totalling almost 20 years.
The court heard that father-of-one Abbas had previously served an 11-year prison sentence for kidnapping and other offences and at the time of the conspiracy he was still on licence.
Thompson, who had no criminal convictions, had previously worked as a driver for Abbas and he claimed that he thought he would get about £100 for collecting the items from Stafford.
He maintained that he was not aware of the nature and quantity of the drugs he had collected.
Abbas, who said he had become involved to pay off a £5,000 gambling debt, was jailed for 12 years and six months after Judge Colin Burn concluded that he had played a significant role in the offending.
Thompson was locked up for seven years and four months after his barrister Bunty Batra said his client would have to pay a heavy price for the decision he made that day.
"He now deeply regrets what he did on that day and has shown remorse for his actions," he added.
Mr Batra said Thompson had brought untold misery on his family by acting as a courier.
Barrister Angus MacDonald, for Abbas, said the defendant had been subjected to threats of violence and violence itself following the loss of the drugs.
Jailing the pair Judge Burn said they had been involved in an attempt to bring a very large amount of heroin into West Yorkshire.
He said the drugs would no doubt have resulted in huge profits for those who were going to sell them on, but also "wholesale misery" and associated criminality.
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Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Lee Fletcher, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Heroin causes significant damage and misery to the communities we serve and this was a massive amount of the drug which was destined for the streets of the Yorkshire region. This represents 200,000 typical street deals.
“These two arrests were due to intelligence provided by the community and dedicated work by my officers. Both men were clearly main players in the vile trade and now have a considerable amount of time in prison to consider the consequences of their actions.
“The supply of drugs is a very serious matter and we will continue to work with partners and our communities to disrupt those involved in organised crime.”